Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (File photo)


Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday said operations of beerhouses and similar establishments remain prohibited even in areas under the most relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

He ordered all police units in the country to strictly implement the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) against illegal operations of beerhouses and bars to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Based on the guidelines issued by the IATF-MEID, the operation of beerhouses, bars and other similar establishments are still prohibited under the Modified General Community Quarantine, and much more under the General Community Quarantine,” Eleazar said in a statement. “So any attempt to accept customers is already a clear violation of the IATF guidelines and possibly even local ordinances.”

Eleazar made the directive after police arrested 39 people, including five foreigners, while drinking inside a bar in Makati City.

On Saturday, almost 100 people were also arrested in a Quezon City bar for violation of quarantine protocols.

“We are not discounting the possibility that similar unauthorized operations of beerhouses, bars and similar establishments are also happening in the provinces, particularly in urban areas. That is why our commanders on the ground should regularly check on these establishments,” Eleazar said.

While some bars may be allowed to open, the operation is focused on serving food and customers are discouraged not to stay long inside.

He said police commanders were also directed to coordinate their operations with the local government units to ensure that violators would be penalized — including payment of fine and even closure order. Violators may also face criminal charges.

“There were already instances in the past of drinking sessions leading to mass infection. As responsible business people, they should follow the existing rules so that they will not add to the coronavirus infection problems. And as responsible citizens, people should not really go to these places if they are mindful of their own and their family’s protection from the infection,” said Eleazar. (PNA)